NBA Africa and Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) Founder and CEO Forest Whitaker yesterday unveiled a newly refurbished basketball court at Cornflower Sports Grounds in Athlone, Cape Town, South Africa that will host year-round youth basketball development programming and serve the broader Athlone community.
The court was unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony by Whitaker, Deputy Mayor of Cape Town Eddie Andrews, and NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams. Following the ceremony, approximately 100 boys and girls aged 10-15 participated in a Jr. NBA clinic and peace activity led by the WPDI Youth Peacemakers Network, WPDI’s flagship program that fosters young leaders in conflict regions. In addition to year-round Jr. NBA programming, the court will also host activities as part of WPDI’s Peace Through Sports program, an initiative designed to foster peace and harmony in marginalized communities through sports and peacebuilding training courses. “Inaugurating this basketball court is a turning point in the development of our programs in the Cape Flats,” said Whitaker. “Its goal is to nurture healthy bodies and healthy minds, providing the children and the youths of the community with a safe space where they can strengthen their stamina and their character. It is a place that will cultivate future NBA champions. When youth play basketball here, I want them to have a lot of fun, but I also want them to know that each dribble can take them towards a better life — for their community, for Cape Town, and one day perhaps even for the world.”
“We’re excited to unveil this beautiful basketball court with the City of Cape Town and Forest Whitaker, which builds on our previous initiatives to provide more young people in South Africa with safe spaces to learn and play the game,” said Williams. “The City of Cape Town shares our commitment to using the game to positively impact young people here, and we look forward to collaborating further on Jr. NBA and other youth development programming in the city.” The Jr. NBA, the league’s global youth basketball participation program for boys and girls, teaches the fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game at the grassroots level in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents. Jr. NBA programming has directly reached more than 165,000 youth across 18 African countries, including through the Jr. NBA Johannesburg League and the Royal Bafokeng Jr. NBA Program in North West, South Africa.
Earlier this month, the Basketball Africa League (BAL), a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and NBA Africa, announced that the league’s fourth season will tip off in March 2024 in South Africa. Fans can register their interest in tickets at BAL.NBA.com.
About NBA Africa
NBA Africa is an affiliate of the National Basketball Association (NBA), a global sports and media organization with the mission to inspire and connect people everywhere through the power of basketball. NBA Africa conducts the league’s business in Africa, including the Basketball Africa League (BAL), and has opened subsidiary offices in Cairo, Egypt; Dakar, Senegal; and Lagos, Nigeria. The NBA has a long history in Africa and opened its African headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2010. The league’s efforts on the continent have focused on increasing access to basketball and the NBA through youth and elite development, social responsibility, media distribution, corporate partnerships, NBA Africa Games, an NBA Store, the BAL, and more. Last year, NBA Africa reached more than eight million youth across the continent through basketball development, life-skills programming and social media engagement. NBA games and programming are available in all 54 African countries, and the NBA has hosted three sold-out exhibition games on the continent since 2015. The BAL, a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and NBA Africa, is a professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa that will tip off its fourth season in March 2024. Fans can follow @NBA_Africa and @theBAL on Facebook, Instagram, X and YouTube.
About the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI)
The Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) is a non-governmental organization with an international scope and reach, founded in 2012 by the artist, social activist and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace, Forest Whitaker. WPDI is committed to fostering peace, gender equality, sustainability and resilience in countries and places affected by violence, poverty and marginalization. In Africa, Europe, as well as Latin and North America, WPDI develops a wide range of programs aimed at training and supporting underprivileged individuals and groups, with a particular focus on youth and women, enabling them to become empowered as mediators, educators, entrepreneurs, and leaders, fostering positive transformation within their communities and beyond. WPDI launched its programs in the Cape Flats in 2019. Since then, it has impacted over 48,500 people, trained 360 youth peacemakers from the townships, provided training to 24,235 pupils and teachers from 89 schools, and supported the launch of 66 youth-led and women-led businesses.